The new ecosystem of virtual care solutions offers a multitude of options for companies, both in terms of benefits and payment plans. Because the various solutions offered on the Canadian market are not standardized, HR professionals face a challenge when trying to systematically compare products. So how can you navigate the sea of options and pricing plans out there and choose the one that will be most beneficial to your company and employees? Let's take a look:
VIRTUAL CARE FOR CORPORATIONS - PRIMARY PRODUCT FEATURES
Virtual care solutions typically include services such as the below:
- Text, voice and video consults
- Prescriptions/prescription renewals
- Prescription delivery
- Specialist referrals
- Lab requisitions
- 24/7 care
- Access to mental health services
Some virtual care providers offer every service on the above list, in both official languages and across provinces, whereas others offer only some of the mentioned services. It's not uncommon for virtual care providers to limit services to certain areas of the country - something that may not be clearly indicated on the provider’s website, so buyer beware!
HR professionals serving national and/or bilingual companies can save considerable time by investigating location and language coverage as a first step in the evaluation process, so that they can immediately eliminate from the running products that would not be available to all employees.
VIRTUAL CARE PRICING MODELS
There are a variety of different virtual care pricing models offered by virtual care providers. Some offer multiple methods of payment, while some stick with a single method.
Among the top providers, all provide one of four popular payment methods, namely:
- Per user, per month – Some providers work with a simple, subscription-based fee. While single employees may prefer this method, those with families may find it more expensive, as each added family member increases the subscription fee. For companies, the benefits of virtual care for employees may be lost if those employees are required to seek in-clinic treatment for their children or dependents.
- Per family, per month – The simplest fee structure, per family, per month operates on a subscription-based flat fee. This allows companies to sign up an employee at once with a simple process for onboarding each family member without additional cost.
- Per-use – At the other end of the spectrum, the per-use option works in much the same way as dentists or other health care providers do. Users pay each time they use the service. Frequent users may find their costs skyrocketing with this type of structure, which can make them hesitate to use the service again to avoid multiplying charges. Employers who see their share of employee health benefit costs fluctuate monthly may wish for a more consistent and predictable pricing option.
- Combo of per month or annual fee with per-use charge – Some virtual care providers use a hybrid system that includes both subscription charges along with a per-use charge. Although such pricing options can mitigate some disadvantages of monthly or per-use structures, they also water down the benefits.
CORPORATE HEALTH AND THE MEDISYS MODEL
Flat, per-family monthly fee models such as the one used by the Medisys-on-Demand program provide value to both employers and employees. A flat fee encourages employees to use the service early, before health problems begin to affect their life and work. A cost-effective option for companies, flat-fee models can represent yearly savings such as:
Small businesses with an average of 50 employees:
- Savings of $10,000 for employees without children
- Savings of $18,000 for employees with children
- 319 man-hours
Mid-market companies with an average of 200 employees:
- Savings of $43,000 for employees without children
- Savings of $73,000 for employees with children
- 1,275 man-hours
Enterprise companies with an average of 750 employees:
- Savings of $180,000 for employees without children
- Savings of $294,000 for employees with children
- 4,781 man-hours
COST EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS THAT MATCH EMPLOYEES' NEEDS
Selecting and implementing new technology in the workplace is no small task. HR departments throughout the business world have learned that in order to make your project a success, it is vital to do your homework!
With so many options out there with varying services, coverage areas, and pricing models - due diligence in choosing a virtual healthcare provider is critical to provide cost effective health care solutions that also match your employees’ needs.